Austin Chapter of the American Statistical Association

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Mark Hughes, Director of the Texas Workforce Commission, will present "The Use of Statistics in Government and Public Policy" at our October 20th (Wednesday) meeting at SRH 3.109 (our usual "ground floor" room in the north end of Sid Richardson Hall at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT).

Free parking for the talk is available in the LBJ School of Public Affairs parking lots on the west side of Red River Road, just south of Dean Keeton (26th St.) Red River Road is one block west of IH-35, which it parallels. See map at http://www.utexas.edu/maps/ for further information.

Meeting Schedule:
6 PM - 6:45 PM Refreshments (pizza) and Networking
~6:45 PM - ~7:00 PM Announcements and Business
~7 PM -~8:15 PM Talk

The following five amendments to the chapter constitution will be voted on by Regular and Associate members after the talk:

Five stop-gap "housekeeping" amendments to the chapter constitution will be considered at the October 20th meeting (after the featured speaker) to give our chapter more flexibility and to make our chapter constitution accord with recent actual practice. These are presented in context in the attached documents in Word 97 doc Format and in Rich Test Format to facilitate consideration. If you are a voting (Regular or Associate) member of the chapter, please be prepared to vote on these items after the featured presentation.

In Article V, there are three proposals:

(i) to remove the three-year commitment for Vice President by decoupling Vice President/Program Chairman from the position of President-Elect;

[Frankly this is an intimidating requirement that anyone running for VP be willing to serve successive one-year terms as Program Chairman, President, and Past President, and it limits the amount of new blood flowing into the organization. This amendment would permit one to be elected as a one-year VP/Program Chairman without committing to serve as President or Past President in succeeding years. The chapter was defunct 1997-1999; elected officers for 2000 in March 2000; re-elected (!) the same President and Vice President in 2001 in spite of Article V of the constitution; found no nominees in 2002; had no elected officers for 2003; and held special elections for 2004.]

(ii) to drop the requirement that the Nominating Committee nominate at least two candidates for VP when nominations are open to all willing Full members.

[This constitutional requirement was not been observed for at least seven years. Its purpose was to ensure a modicum of choice on the election ballot insofar as under the existing constitution, the Vice President is President-Elect. But when nominations are opened to all willing Full members, absence of a second candidate indicates a lack of volunteers willing to do the work. In the past we've been hard put to find willing volunteers.]

(iii) to explicitly sanction e-mail balloting.

[e-mail balloting has been the rule for many years and since there was some question about it in 2003, it is just a good housekeeping amendment to make this explicit in the constitution. BTW e-mail has been an incredible boon to low-cost administration of the chapter.]

(iv) In Article VII, the proposed amendment reduces the Standing Committees from six to two -- Nominating and Program committees -- while making the remainder optional at the convenience of the President.

[Despite repeated calls for volunteers for the various committees, there were no volunteers other than the elected officers. In practice the roles of the other four committees were filled as needed by informal requests from the President. While it is good to have more members participating, it is even better to have a constitution that one can abide by. To accord with actual practice, since we haven't really had the SIX standing committees for years, we ought to just reduce the explicit designation of standing committees to the Nominations and Program committees, and make the Arrangements, Education, Membership, and Publicity committees suggested committees. ]

(v) In Article X, the proposed amendment limits annual expenditures: "In a given Chapter Year, the Treasury handed over to the next year's officers shall be no less than two-thirds of the Treasury at the beginning of the Chapter Year, excluding unanticipatable legal liabilities. The President and Treasurer shall be jointly responsible to ensure that no funds in excess of this amount be committed or allocated."

[This would preclude chapter officers from blowing the budget and crippling the options of subsequent administrations to bid on short courses, by encouraging officers to keep expenditures within annual income. But it allows a margin of error of up to one-third of the Treasury at the beginning of the calendar year term.]

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